Is online grocery what Morrisons needs?

Speculation is rife that Morrisons’ new CEO Dalton Philips will announce the supermarket chain’s debut into online shopping later this week. Is online grocery what Morrisons needs to grow its market share?

Currently, Morrisons is the smallest of the “Big Four” supermarkets and holds 11.6% of the market, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel supermarket share figures.

It is also the only one of the four that doesn’t already have a significant online grocery operation.

Is it fair to say that the two are directly correlated? If Morrisons did have an online arm, would it be closer on its rivals’ tails?

Former CEO Marc Bolland, now at the helm of Marks & Spencer, steered away from moving online.

Under Bolland’s lead that chain focused on its fresh food proposition, its alignment with British farming and developing the Market Street concept for its fruit and veg department.

All of which helped switch Morrisons from being a minor player to a major player in the sector.

Market Street has been a phenomenal success for Morrisons and helped the supermarket cement its position as a destination for fresh, local British produce.

It’s been argued before that the Market Street concept does not easily translate into online grocery, and this is one reason that Morrisons has held back from going online.

Others have suggested that it is Morrisons’ relatively small offering in terms of non-food.

Morrisons is also on the look out for a new strategy director, yet another sign that it is looking in new directions.

A new direction for the chain in terms of operations could also mean a new style of communication under Philips.

If he does take the chain online, how will Morrisons seek to align the fresh produce message it has been pushing with one that promotes groceries at the click of a button?

The industry awaits Dalton Philips’ first indications of his strategy for Morrisons which will be revealed alongside interim results on Thursday (9 September), when some, if not all of his plans are revealed.

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